Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Moving forward and new additions.

Slowly the rebuilding begins. Not just the rebuilding of our house, but the rebuilding of our life, family and homestead. Just getting back to our land has been very healing for all of us. We have slowly fallen back into our old routines, and our time spent at the rental house is barely even a memory now.

Trying to pick up the pieces of where our life left off, i sometimes feel like we have fallen backward and it will take us years, if ever,  to return to where we had been. 

After moving from our property our chickens began to get picked off one at a time. Although they were in a fenced in area, several of them were escape artists and still managed to find a way out.  At first a hawk seemed to be to blame. It actually killed several but birds inside the fenced area. It soon became apparent that our own dogs were killing them too. So i rigged up the fencing so that they no longer had access to the entire chicken yard, instead they were limited to small pen which would hopefully prevent them escaping.  This worked for a while. 

Then only a few days after we moved the RV to our property my dogs dug out of their kennel, under the fenced area and then broke done the fencing of the pen and slaughtered almost all of my birds. It was devastating. The only birds to survive were the ones who were able to get into the coop.  At the beginning of the year i had something like 30 chickens. We had hatched out several brood of chicks last summer, and i'd purchased 4 young Americana in the fall. Now, they were all dead.

At the time we moved back to the property i only had 5 hens remaining.  My black (game) hen, one black star, one Austrolorp, a Speckled Sussex and a very old Americana who hasn't laid in a couple of years. i also still had a rooster.  

i have been wanting to get a few new chickens ever since we moved back to the property. i missed the chick days at Tractor supply, and i honestly didn't want to raise day old chicks anyhow. We have no where to keep a brooder, and i didn't have the time to put into them. i started looking on craigslist, but most folks were selling basic production layers. Although i raise chickens for eggs, i also like variety in my flock and really didn't want plain domestic layers. i began to check craigslist regularly and found someone selling a large variety of 3-4 month old hens.  i was able to hand pick the hens i wanted.   

Hiding behind the fence is a Golden Campine. The Campine is a very old and rare breed which originated in Belgium. It is considered a heritage breed and is on the critically endangered list.  She is very skittish, and once she starts laying she should lay white eggs.  Also picked are a Mottled Java and 'Gran-Gran'  my old Americana. We do not eat/kill our birds when they stop lying so she is enjoying her days of retirement.

This is the Mottled Java. It is also a heritage breed and on the critically endangered list.  They are a hardy breed, they lay large brown eggs, are known as being good foragers and for going broody. Our Java is very docile and gentle bird. She will come right up and eat corn from my hands.


Cuckoo Marans lay really dark brown eggs. They are considered 'chocolate eggers' because the eggs are such a rich brown color. Cuckoo is one of the birds i just recently lost in May, so i was happy to add one back to my flock. 

i also added a Delaware to my flock. These birds are a medium size, but lay large to jumbo brown eggs.  They are also considered a critically endangered breed.  i had a special relationship with a Delaware that i'd lost in May and was happy to get another. She is a very chatty bird. Follows me everywhere and is constantly 'talking'.  Although her coloring is not all that exciting, her personality makes up for it.  i just adore her.

We really were not planning to get another cat any time soon. We have still been holding on to hope that Tom would return or be found.  When we moved back to the RV we learned that our neighbor (at the bottom of the hill) was in the hospital, was not doing well and probably would not be returning to her home. 

A few weeks after than she passed away.  She loved animals and her partner/spouse was trying to relocate some of her animals as he was unable to care for them all. We had received our first chickens from them, and also both of our beagles (Sampson, and then Rufus).  So it only made sense for us to give a home to one her kittens.  

He is tail-less, a Manx, like all of her cats and a sweet welcome addition to our family. After a week or so of being nameless, we named him Banjo.

Little by little, we are finding our way. Construction has began on the house, and we should be in our new home before the winter sets in. It is hard to explain the feeling. bittersweet, for sure.  i am learning to let go of the old and embrace the new. 

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.  ~Victor Frankl


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